Etiology of encephalitis syndrome among hospitalized children and adults in Takeo, Cambodia, 1999-2000.

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  • 1 Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Whether or not Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is an important causative agent of acute encephalitis in Cambodia remains unclear. This study was carried out to determine the cause of encephalitis syndrome among children and adults admitted to Takeo Provincial Hospital from October 1999 to September 2000. Ninety-nine cases were included in the study: 52 pediatric cases (12 were fatal) and 47 adult cases (10 were fatal). A causative agent such as human herpesvirus (HHV-3 or HHV-4), Cryptococcus neoformans, or Mycobacterium tuberculosis had been identified in 8 of the 11 adults who had human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). An infectious agent was identified in 35 (40%) of 88 HIV-1-seronegative patients (60% of the causes remains unidentified). These comprised 11 bacterial infections, 1 fungal infection, and 23 viral infections. The viral infections were 1 fatal HHV-4 infection, 5 dengue virus infections (2 fatal), 1 coinfection with flavivirus and alphavirus, and 16 presumptive infections JEV (no virus detected), one case of which was fatal. Infection with JEV, the principal cause identified in the 99 encephalitis syndromes, concerned 16 (31%) of 52 children.